Union Leaders Update Members on Rescinding Layoff Notices and Restoring Services

by Matt O'Connor on August 21st

Leaders of the unions in the State Employees Bargaining Agent Coalition (SEBAC) again called on the Malloy Administration Friday to immediately restore the jobs of recently laid-off members. All but two of the 34 bargaining units in the coalition’s 15 unions — representing 97% of the state’s unionized workforce — have approved extended contracts that provide four years of protection from layoffs. These are companions to the revised SEBAC tentative agreement (TA) that was unanimously approved by the coalition after the members of its unions ratified it.

Of the approximately 3,000 union members who received pink slips, several hundred with shorter than usual notice periods have already been laid-off. Placing them back on the job is not just a priority for the individual workers and their families, but for the public they serve.

Click here to watch video of union leaders addressing the State Capitol press Friday afternoon where they urged the immediate return to work of laid-off union members with job protection.

Leaders have also been reaching out to union members with layoff notices still on the job whose bargaining units voted for job protection.

In a letter to the governor on Thursday, union leaders urged the immediate rescission of all layoff notices for eligible members. However, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes announced Friday that formal recall of notices would be delayed until the TA and its companion unit agreements are approved by the General Assembly. In the interim, they have postponed the effective date of all layoff notices until September 1, the day after the General Assembly is expected to officially approve the agreements.

The agreements will be automatically approved unless the General Assembly calls itself into special session before August 31. House Speaker Christopher Donovan (D-Meriden) and Senate President Donald Williams (D-Brooklyn) have announced they do not plan to schedule a vote, and will therefore allow the agreements to be approved automatically on September 1.

Union members with job protection who received layoff notices should report to work as regularly scheduled while the official rescission letters are sent out.

Secretary Barnes also confirmed Friday a halt to a number of service shut-downs and program closures union leaders had urged be restored upon ratification of the cost savings agreement. He confirmed that the historic Connecticut River ferries will not be docked, Department of Motor Vehicles offices will not be closed, and sports, art, music, and social programs in vocational technical high schools will not be eliminated.

There are a number of additional public services and programs whose status now that union members have stepped-up to save nearly $1.6 billion in taxpayer dollars remains uncertain. We are committed to their full restoration in order to preserve and protect Connecticut’s quality of life.

Click here to read the ratified agreement and learn more about union members’ efforts to take charge of their future for themselves and the public they serve.

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